UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw will be a particularly interested spectator of July 11's UFC 189 card.
Fans and media members across the globe have been eagerly anticipating the event, which features a showdown between longtime featherweight king Jose Aldo and red-hot challenger Conor McGregor, since it was announced, but Dillashaw's motivation for watching runs a bit deeper than sheer entertainment.
While he currently reigns one weight class below Aldo and McGregor, Dillashaw told Submission Radio he'd like to face the winner of the UFC 189 main event after his upcoming rematch with Renan Barao at UFC on Fox 16 on July 25 (h/t Bloody Elbow's Karim Zidan for the transcription):
I would love to do a champion vs. champion fight. That's like my next goal. The goal was to become best in the world in my weight class and I've done it. I need to obviously stay dominant and hold my belt and continue to do so, but I would love to in the future fight champion vs. champion and go up a weight class and do that.
Whether Aldo or McGregor emerges victorious, Dillashaw feels he'll be ready to compete and solidify his status as one of the most dangerous men on Earth.
"Whoever is going to win the fight, I would beat either of them," Dillashaw said.
With just one title defense to his name, Dillashaw may be getting a touch ahead of himself, but it's always great to see a fighter open himself up to new challenges and look to push himself to achieve greatness inside the cage.
A win over either Aldo or McGregor would likely cement Dillashaw as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, but neither fight comes without significant challenges.
McGregor is a massive featherweight who previously held both the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship lightweight and featherweight titles, and he's not-so-subtly teased a move to lightweight—and perhaps even welterweight—under the UFC banner.
Besides his size advantage over Dillashaw, he's obsessive about the sport, constantly growing and evolving in his quest to become the best ever.
Aldo's record, meanwhile, speaks for itself. The Brazilian champ is 25-1, and he hasn't lost in nine years. Since signing with Zuffa in 2008, Aldo is a perfect 15-0 with nine stoppages via knockout.
It'd be tough to favor Dillashaw against either man, but should he defeat Barao at UFC on Fox 16, the MMA world would undoubtedly tune in to watch him test his luck at 145.
How do you think the Team Alpha Male standout would perform against Aldo or McGregor? Leave a comment, and we'll discuss his chances.